Punjabi writer's son murdered

Sep 15, 2012, 06:32 IST | Shiva Devnath

65-year-old Navraj Kawatra, son of late Amrita Pritam, was killed by two unidentified persons in his Borivli office yesterday

A week after a senior citizen was found murdered at her Ghatkopar residence, a similar incident has been reported from Borivli (West). Film writer and photographer Navraj Kawatra (65), was killed at LIC Colony in his Maharashtra Housing Board (MHB) ground floor flat, which he had turned into an office.

Navraj Kawatra
Gruesome end: Cops say the two culprits smothered Navraj Kawatra with a pillow

Cops say Kawatra was murdered by two unidentified persons who came to him with a ‘gift’ around 12.30 pm yesterday. Incidentally, Kawatra was the son of prolific Punjabi writer and poet Amrita Pritam.

According to the police, two people — about 22 to 25 years old — came to meet the victim who was alone at the time. The murderers were carrying a box, which was gift-wrapped.

A neighbour who saw them enter the flat told the police that he observed them speaking to the victim. The witness then proceeded to his flat, which was just above Kawatra’s.

A little later, he heard someone screaming for help. He looked out of the window but couldn’t see anyone. He went downstairs and rang Kawatra’s doorbell, but there was no response. The neighbour went back to his flat. But on reaching there he saw two men racing out of the colony. He immediately came down and found Kawatra’s front door open. Inside, he saw the victim lying motionless on the ground, gagged, and his hands tied behind his back.

Residents alerted cops and took the victim to nearby Bhagwati hospital, where he was declared dead-before-arrival. Police have found a CCTV camera above the spot where Kawatra was killed, but it was switched off. Cops say Kawatra was smothered with a pillow and there were no injury marks on the body.

Additional CP (north) Sunil Paraskar said, “Two people are involved in the crime and no motive has been ascertained as of now. Investigations are on.”

Police have prepared sketches of the killers. Mahesh Patil, DCP (zone XI) said, “Kawatra came to the office daily at 11 am and left by 5 pm. He was staying at Andheri (W). A lot of small-time actors and models used to come to get their portfolios made. Photos of these customers would be compared with the sketches. Till now it’s not clear whether there was a robbery.”

Twist in the tale
A police official, who wished to remain anonymous, told MiD DAY that some sex toys, women’s undergarments and other such items were recovered from the deceased’s office. Some nude pictures of customers have also been found. Cops suspect, a female model who was harassed and conned by Kawatra may have hired the killers.

Sources say Kawatra allegedly charged clients for their portfolios, promised to forward them to various companies for modelling assignments. But, these promises were allegedly not kept. 

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